Recently bought on eBay, this vintage photograph is roughly the size of a cabinet card. Unfortunately it has been trimmed and part of the signature is missing, but the 1911 census helps to identify her as Blanche Forsythe, an English actress born 1873. She made her name in various theatrical productions and later in silent films.
Blanche signed the 1911 census (Class: RG14; Piece: 7283; Schedule Number: 34). She lived with her mother and two brothers in Tottenham, London at the time of the census and gave her occupation as ‘actress’.
In the above photograph Blanche is dressed as Trilby O’Ferrall from a stage adaptation of the novel ‘Trilby’ by George Du Maurier (published 1894).
The following interview is taken from the Leigh Chronicle and Weekly District Advertiser, 31 July 1896. In it, the interviewer asks Blanche to compare herself to another English actress Dorothea Baird, who also played ‘Trilby’ around the same time. Blanche is unfazed, saying that neither is “better than the other”:
During the 1910s, Blanche was cast in various silent movies including title roles in ‘Jane Shore‘, ‘East Lynne‘ and ‘Sixty Years a Queen‘. Coincidentally she also played the part of Ustane in the film adaptation of ‘She‘ by Henry Rider Haggard, an author I have previously come across while writing this blog. The IMDb website has more information about Blanche’s film success.
I have searched but am yet to come across any other clear photographs of Blanche Forsythe on the internet. If anyone knows of any, please contact me!
Update (January 2018)
Thank you to Debbie for contacting me and sharing information. Debbie has brought my attention to the BFI Player, where Blanche Victorine Forsythe can be seen in a small number of early films. In particular, in 1915 Blanche stars as Sal in ‘Heart of a Coster’ (3’25”), and as Peggy in ‘The Lure of Drink’ (from the beginning). Both are well worth viewing!